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This Diwali, the shopping comes home

Online shopping has become more convenient during the pandemic, especially for the festive season. The Data Team from First Draft surveyed 16 young adults to determine what they'd prefer to buy this festive season?

Ananya Jain & Pujit Tandon

“E-retailers will earn more than $7 billion during the festive season,” says a report by the consultancy firm, Redseer. The festive season is a big boost for online retailers like Amazon, Flipkart, JioMart, and others.

Figure 1

Figure 1 shows how the E-commerce sector's sales have spiked in the last few years in India. The sales have doubled this year from that of 2019. The Y-axis shows the sales in Billions, and X-axis depicts the previous five years.

Flipkart has introduced Big Billion Days, and Amazon introduced the Great Indian Festival sales, both competing with one another to increase their sales and profits. The Forrester forecast projects 55 to 60 million buyers in India likely to participate in ongoing sales. To determine customers' behavior during this season, especially after the pandemic, the First Draft team surveyed 16 young adults (age 20 to 28years) from different states of India.

Q. Where did you shop online this festive season?

Figure 2

The graph (Figure 2) shows that 11 respondents prefer Amazon, while 3 chose Flipkart and 2 chose Jio Mart for festive purchases. With JioMart new in the E-commerce sector, Reliance has established grounds for a bigger market in the coming years. Jio Mart offered discounts and offers for buyers this Diwali.

Q. What did you shop for online during this season? (Multiple answers are chosen)

Figure 3

The graph in the figure above shows what the demographics preferred buying in this Diwali sale. Demand for devices like smartphones, laptops, and desktops outstripped demand for other items this year (Figure 3), perhaps because of the ongoing virtual education system and work from home requirements. 6 of our respondents preferred shopping for the pantry and essential goods shopping from Amazon and Flipkart. The least purchases were observed to be for jewelry.

Gizmodo, a media networking site, mentions credibility, quality, purchasing in-person, reasonable shipping, and return policies necessary to improve online sales in jewelry. However, our survey cannot determine whether jewelry purchases do not fare well because of online spaces, or is it young adults who prefer buying gadgets to jewelry.

Q. How much did you spend on E-shopping this Diwali?

Figure 4

The heat map graph (Figure 4) shows that only four out of 16 respondents spent more than Rs 10,000 on online shopping in the festive period. On the other hand, five out of sixteen spent less than in 2000. The average spending was between 5,000-10,000 INR.

Q. Did your online shopping expenditure increase during the 2020 festive season?

Figure 5

A majority (10) said that their online shopping expenditure has increased in the festive season, and only five mentioned that it has not (Figure 5). A survey done by Localcircles with a demographic of 17,000+ respondents from 211 districts of India says that “79% of the consumers who shopped during the recent Amazon and Flipkart sales did not want to step out for shopping” due to the pandemic and security guidelines. Also, in the First Draft team survey, participants mentioned that shopping online was safer during Covid-19.

Q. By how much percent has your shopping expenditure increased?

Figure 6

Around 7 out of 16 observed a more than 25% rise in the amount spent on online shopping during the sales. And three believe that their expenditure during Diwali hasn’t increased at all.

Q. What are the main reason/s for you to shop online? (Multiple answers are chosen)

Figure 7

Out of 16 respondents, 12 preferred shopping online because they felt that it was a safer mode of buying during Covid-19, along with almost 37.5%, i.e., 6 out of 16, agreeing that online platforms offered better sales during the festive season.

The spread of Covid-19 did not hold back people from celebrating festivals this year. People are adapting to a new normal by taking all the precautions to prevent the spread while not giving up on their happiness. According to a Cybersecurity firm McAfee survey, Indian consumers of all ages are shopping online more due to the pandemic, with more than 68% reporting an uptick since Covid-19 started.

Some have tightened up their purse strings; some are not thinking before buying. However, they have indeed observed that the upper-middle-class people have the luxury to stay inside and buy online. A large population in India, especially the lower class and the lower middle class, has been facing hardships due to the economy.

(Edited by Jasmine Singh and Kshitij Kumbhat)